meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \mə-ˈti-kyə-ləs \

Definition of meticulous 

: marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details a meticulous researcher

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Other Words from meticulous

meticulosity \-​ˌti-​kyə-​ˈlä-​sə-​tē \ noun
meticulously \-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​lē \ adverb
meticulousness \-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for meticulous

Synonyms

careful, conscientious, fussy, loving, painstaking, scrupulous

Antonyms

careless

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Choose the Right Synonym for meticulous

careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious mean showing close attention to detail. careful implies attentiveness and cautiousness in avoiding mistakes. a careful worker meticulous may imply either commendable extreme carefulness or a hampering finicky caution over small points. meticulous scholarship scrupulous applies to what is proper or fitting or ethical. scrupulous honesty punctilious implies minute, even excessive attention to fine points. punctilious observance of ritual

Meticulous Has Fearful Roots

It may surprise you to learn that meticulous is derived from the Latin word for "fearful" - meticulosus - and ultimately comes from the Latin noun metus, meaning "fear." Although meticulous currently has no "fearful" meanings, it was originally used as a synonym of frightened and timid. This sense had fallen into disuse by 1700, and in the 19th century meticulous acquired a new sense of "overly and timidly careful" (probably influenced by the French word méticuleux). This in turn led to the current meaning of "painstakingly careful," with no connotations of fear at all. The newest use was controversial among some usage commentators at first, but it has since become by far the most common meaning and is no longer considered an error.

Examples of meticulous in a Sentence

Always meticulous about his appearance in the past, he had become dirty and unkempt, with straggly hair, stained clothes, and patches of silver stubble on his chin. — Minette Walters, Fox Evil, 2002 She was very much the craftswoman, all her work meticulous, slow, perfect. — Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, 1998 In dense, meticulous arguments … Brooten mounts an assault on that view. — Cullen Murphy, Atlantic, August 1993 He described the scene in meticulous detail. He is meticulous about keeping accurate records.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In a time of meticulous scripting and market research and political groupthink, these kids’ brash honesty and proposed policy solutions cut like sharp metal through the confusion. Lara Backmender, Glamour, "The March for Our Lives Activists Who Said Never Again," 1 Nov. 2018 The meticulous renovation took two-and-a-half years to complete. Rima Suqi, ELLE Decor, "How an Abandoned Texas Home Is Restored Into an Ethereal Country Getaway," 20 Sep. 2018 Following in Michael Bay’s bombastic footsteps seems like a strange next step for a man who’s previously spent his time on the meticulous, patient art of stop-motion, so who knows how this will come out. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "The Verge fall movie preview, December 2018," 7 Sep. 2018 The dramatic architecture—its enormous scale, meticulous detailing, sober materials—is tailor-made to evoke transcendence and closeness to a higher power. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Based on your zodiac sign, what should your Halloween costume be?," 10 Oct. 2018 Through his meticulous attention to living things, relationships come into view. Hugh Raffles, WSJ, "‘A Naturalist at Large’ Review: The Habit of Taking a Closer Look," 30 Aug. 2018 But Tony’s display was meticulous, organized, symmetrical. Bill Bannks, ajc, "Tony Paradowski, 60: Decatur’s maestro of Christmas-light magic," 22 June 2018 The rescue mission required meticulous preparation, concentration and the ability to remain calm. Phred Dvorak, WSJ, "All 12 Boys and Their Soccer Coach Rescued From Thai Cave," 10 July 2018 Lalli credits Bain for his success, particularly his meticulous preparation. Paul Johnson, Aurora Beacon-News, "Bain's gains: Cougars starter Jeff Bain named top pitcher in Diamondbacks' farm system for June," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meticulous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of meticulous

1827, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for meticulous

earlier, "fearful," borrowed from Latin metīculōsus, metūculōsus "timid, apprehensive," from metū-, stem of metus "fear, dread" (of uncertain origin) + -culōsus (in perīculōsus "involving danger, perilous")

Note: The senses "overscrupulous," then "careful, scrupulous" may depend on French méticuleux, for which these meanings are attested somewhat earlier than in English.

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Dictionary Entries near meticulous

methysergide

metic

metical

meticulous

métier

metif

métis

Statistics for meticulous

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for meticulous

The first known use of meticulous was in 1827

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More Definitions for meticulous

meticulous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of meticulous

: very careful about doing something in an extremely accurate and exact way

meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \mə-ˈtik-yə-ləs \

Kids Definition of meticulous

: showing extreme or excessive care in thinking about or dealing with small details a meticulous description

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